Upcoming permanent repairs for the Othello section of the Coquihalla Highway


Permanent repairs to the Othello section of Coquihalla Highway 5 will begin soon, making the road more resilient than it was before last November’s storms.

Work by Emil Anderson and the Chawathil First Nation is expected to begin in early August and be completed this fall.

The section is located about three kilometers north of the junction of highways 3 and 5.

Crews will restore approximately 460 meters of the southbound lanes that were washed away, along with roadside barriers and spillways. They will widen shoulders, place barriers and replace/expand culverts to more effectively deal with future extreme weather events.

“This marks another important step in our recovery from the river weather events that severely damaged our highway infrastructure last fall,” said Rob Fleming, BC Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “We are working quickly to rebuild permanent infrastructure to a better, more climate-resilient standard that will protect the movement of people and goods through our province.

Emil Anderson and the Chawathil First Nation have a $4.6 million contract for the job.

“Participating in works that are being developed on our traditional territory shows that we are moving business forward for Chawathil,” said Chief Rhoda Peters of the Chawathil First Nation. “So many highways, railroads, pipelines and power lines run through our lands without agreement from our leaders. Today, our nation is able to sit at the table and work together as the future unfolds at a rapid pace before us.

As work progresses, motorists are warned to expect delays, including possible periods of single-lane alternating traffic and short, intermittent full closures. Travelers can check DriveBC.ca for updates.

“This project is a great example of the province, industry and local First Nations working together to deliver critical infrastructure projects,” said Robert Hasell, President and CEO, Emil Anderson Construction.

Highway 5 was closed to regular automobile traffic on November 14, 2021, due to damage from an atmospheric river that brought heavy rain. Flooding and washouts damaged more than 20 sites along 130 kilometers of the road between Hope and Merritt, including seven bridges where spans collapsed or were badly damaged.

More than 300 workers, using 200 pieces of equipment, moved more than 400,000 cubic meters of gravel, rock and other materials to repair and reopen Highway 5 to commercial vehicle traffic on December 20, 2021 and to all traffic on January 19. 2022.

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